The Data Privacy Landscape and How to Build Brand Trust Within It
By Lee Pittman
Studies show that most people (76%, actually) feel that sharing their data is a “necessary evil”. It’s meant to be an exchange – I share my behaviors and preferences and you tailor my digital experience to meet me where I am. But is that always the case? Is my data being collected and used properly?
As digital consumers become steadily more empowered and knowledgeable about how and why they share their data, it’s up to brands to build and maintain that trust. Data was gold, until trust. Trust is the new gold.
One of my favorite sessions at this year’s Sitecore Symposium was Privacy hot takes: (No more) cookies, building trust, and maximizing your first-party data advantage, co-hosted by Amanda Shiga (Sitecore’s Director of Product Strategy) and Jacqueline Baxter (Sitecore’s Senior Digital Strategist).
Their discussion shone a bright light on what is happening in the world of data privacy, how important it is for brands to approach the data value exchange with transparency and integrity to build trust with their audiences, and how Sitecore can help simplify and maximize this data advantage.
So, to accept cookies or not to accept cookies? That is the question.
We wanted to dive deeper into Jacqueline’s personal take on the privacy landscape and how to build brand trust within it and she was kind enough to take time out of her schedule to share some excellent insights with us.
What inspired your SitecoreSYM talk, Privacy Hot Takes?
My co-presenter Amanda Shiga and I are both deeply invested in this topic and have been speaking about it for a while, though this is our first joint venture.
The digital privacy landscape is changing so quickly and it’s important to acknowledge that these changes are necessary and positive even if they’re not always easy.
In your on-demand session you mention data breaches and how sharing data has unfortunately become a necessary evil. What do you mean by that? Do you think this outlook will change?
The “necessary evil” phrasing came from a PwC survey, which means it came from customers! It’s something we cannot, as marketers, technologists and strategists, afford to ignore. Because the truth is, they’re right. Data has become the price of admission to the internet – every website we touch is asking for our email, our birthday, permission to track our clicks and our actions.
The only way to move from necessary evil to valued partner is to respect our visitors and try to build experiences that are worthy of their time and data, while simultaneously building systems that keep that data secure. We have to move toward a trust-based model and prove ourselves worthy of the trust our customers place in us.
In what way(s) has the pandemic affected client and company expectations when it comes to privacy?
I think the pandemic has impacted expectations of experience, of which privacy is an essential component. Visitors understand that having a highly impactful and personal experience requires their data – they also understand that data is valuable and needs to be protected.
It’s very encouraging that brands know this too and have been moving toward models that prioritize privacy and don’t ask for more data than they need
Companies doubled their privacy budgets in 2020. Do you think we still would have seen a significant increase in data privacy if the pandemic hadn’t happened?
I think we would have seen budget increases, yes. This issue is far too important to ignore and systems that are secure require investment and continual improvement. We were seeing an increase in security budgets prior to the pandemic, and that trend is likely to continue
From a consumer perspective, what is a major pet peeve of yours when it comes to data collection and cookies?
When there isn’t a quick option to ‘Reject All’. It may make your customers more likely to hit ‘Accept All’ instead, but they won’t be happy about it and they’ll remember the companies that made it harder than necessary to opt out.
This goes back to being a “necessary evil” versus a “valued partner” and having respect for our visitors; it makes perfect sense that they might not want to share data before they see any value in doing so! Proving that the value exchange is critical.
What is the biggest mistake you see companies making when it comes to data collection and privacy?
We often hear global brands talking about valuing customers, but what are some specific values and actions that truly demonstrate transparency? In your personal opinion, what makes a company trustworthy?
Concise policies that are communicated clearly and in simple terms go a long way, as does making it easy for visitors to opt out of sharing their data.
How does Sitecore help company’s future proof their business in regards to privacy?
I think the shift from third-party data to first-party data is going to be a critical one, and companies that both understand the importance of this switch and are technologically equipped to make it will have set themselves up for success.
Sitecore has been focused on first-party data for years, because it’s the key to deeper insights and therefore the path to more meaningful experiences. That’s not to say it’s without challenges but Sitecore can and does help companies build toward that first-party data future.
Interested in learning more about how to simplify and maximize your data approach? Set up some time with our Sitecore experts.
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